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Stunning Saints

Fab Five

1.49ers 2. Texans

3. Ravens 4. Packers

5. Patriots

Best bet

Saints (0-2) over Chiefs (0-2)

The Chiefs haven't beaten the Saints in New Orleans since Joe Montana was Kansas City's quarterback. The Saints will keep that streak alive today.

What they're saying

"We're going to have to play almost a perfect game to walk away on the road Sunday night with a victory. This is a good Baltimore football team, we've seen over the years, but I think this team now is stacked, probably one of the best teams that Baltimore's had."

Patriots DT Vincent Wilfork, to the Boston Globe, on tonight's matchup with the Ravens, whom the Pats beat in last year's AFC title game

Fitting tribute

There will be a video tribute in every NFL stadium today to honor late NFL Films president Steve Sabol, who died Tuesday at age 69 of brain cancer. SI.com's Peter King pointed out Sabol's unique ability to gain trust of private players and coaches, who were wired up in meetings and on sidelines to give NFL Films "a genuineness that was unsurpassed not just in sports, but also in the world." Future Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre told King: "(Sabol) changed the face of the NFL without ever playing a down in it."

Times wires contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

Surprise showdown

Raise your hand if you predicted today's Cardinals-Eagles matchup would be a battle of undefeated teams. Didn't think so.

Philadelphia has squeaked out two wins despite coughing up a combined nine turnovers, beating both the Browns and Ravens by one point. Arizona could be one of the league's top surprises after going into New England last week and holding on to beat the AFC champs. Don't forget, the Cardinals have won nine of their past 11, dating to last season, so they might have found something.

But what also makes today's game intriguing is the quarterback matchup. There's Arizona's embattled Kevin Kolb, the Eagles starter just two years ago before Michael Vick supplanted him.

Kolb has been criticized for not living up to the five-year, $63 million deal signed last year. He was beaten for the starting job this year by John Skelton, then booed when he came in for the injured starter in Week 1. Now Kolb, after leading the upset over the Pats, faces the team that got rid of him.

"Obviously," Kolb told FoxSports Arizona, "there's a little bit of incentive."

Meeting of the week

When Cleveland picked Alabama RB Trent Richardson No. 3 overall in this year's draft, former Browns great and Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown sparked a controversy by calling Richardson an "ordinary back." Richardson certainly has no ordinary goals, telling NFL Network in the summer he wanted to be the best back in team history. So it'll be interesting today when they meet; Brown will attend the Browns-Bills game. "Just to meet (Brown) is an honor," Richardson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He's always been an icon. He's always been somebody that you want to have a season like, a career like. To meet him and be on the same field means a lot."

Return of the week

San Francisco WR Randy Moss once electrified crowds at the Metrodome, where the former Vikings' great is still celebrated by fans who wear his No. 84 jersey. Moss, 35, might not be the same player he was during those seven seasons in Minnesota, but he's excited to return today for the first time as an opponent. Moss is prepared for cheers, and boos, understanding both. "I'm just very fortunate to go back where it all started at. We had some great times in Minnesota," Moss told ESPN.com. "I'm looking forward to just hearing the Metrodome rock." And the Vikings are well-aware that the older Moss is still a threat. "He still can run," Minnesota S Jamarca Sanford said. "He still can blow the top off coverage. He's still a guy you have to track down and know where he's at on the field."

Suddenly the Saints look more like … the Aints. • Well, maybe it's not that bad on Bourbon Street. But it's no secret New Orleans — 0-2 for the first time since 2007 — looks like a shell of the team that was one of the league's best the past several years. Even without suspended coach Sean Payton, New Orleans was predicted by many to contend for the NFC South title and, potentially, play in the Super Bowl at their home dome. QB Drew Brees has still thrown for 300 yards in each of the first two games, but he has made some costly mistakes in interceptions and has admitted to trying to do too much. And the revamped defense isn't doing much at all, having allowed 75 points, tied with the Chiefs for the most allowed through two games. Any team as talented as the Saints, especially with Brees, can bounce back after tough losses to the Panthers and Redskins. But as New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Peter Finney writes, it could be a long year. "From what I've seen in two losses against teams they were picked to defeat, I'd say winning nine regular-season games for these Saints would be fairly close to a miracle."

Stunning Saints 09/22/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 22, 2012 7:07pm]
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